Vattenfall abandons 500 MW Jaenschwalde carbon capture plant in Germany

Vattenfall was to retrofit a 250 MW coal unit with post-combustion CCS and build a new 250 MW Oxyfuel unit at a cost of €1.5 billion. Courtesy Vattenfall

Swedish power utility Vattenfall has abandoned a planned 500 MW carbon capture and storage (CCS) plant at Jaenschwalde, Germany, expected to cost €1.5 billion, after the German federal government rejected a bill allowing underground carbon storage.

The 500 MW CCS demonstration project was to utilize a new 250 MW Oxyfuel boiler and see another 250 MW boiler retrofitted with a post-combustion capture unit. The EU-supported project would have been operational by 2015/16.

In July, Germany’s lower house approved a bill allowing the underground storage of carbon dioxide but it was rejected by the upper house on September 23. Following the rejection of the bill by the Bundesrat, a mediation committee was formed, which adjourned twice in November without result.

In a statement, Tuomo Hatakka, Vattenfall´s country manager for Germany, said: “We must unfortunately accept that there is currently insufficient will in German federal politics to implement the European directive so that a CCS demonstration project in Germany could be possible.”

Hatakka said that a clear legal framework was needed and the existing draft for the CCS law is, without substantial improvement, insufficient for multi-billion investments in further development of carbon capture technology.

The Swedish state-owned utility said it would continue to further development of CCS. Vattenfall is a main partner in UK’s largest CCS pilot plant at Ferrybridge Power Station in West Yorkshire, which opened 30 November.

The company said it will also continue the test operation of the CCS pilot plant at Schwarze Pumpe, Germany, and work for the development of a European storage infrastructure.

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